TED Conversations

Boas Bamberger

This conversation is closed.

A Quantum Computing Approach to Test for Free Will in Humans.

Assuming the Big Bang to be the starting point of quantum entanglement, we now have the situation of a seemingly infinite number of entanglements that make our universe what it is. From this point of view every decision we make forms new entanglements and is due to prior entanglements. If that is so, there is no free will, but merely the consequence of prior entanglements.

To test this assumption quantum computers could do the trick. An algorithm (AI) that draws on a subjects personality, life-history and some environmental factors to predict future binary decision could give an insight on how prior entanglements are predictive to new entanglements. To train the algorithm several subjects are needed to verify on binary decisions the computer clone of each subject made.

Thanks to quantum computing such an algorithm could be able to finish computing within our lifetime. There are several more advantages that come along with quantum computers for this kind of machine learning.

Now: If the accuracy for binary decision making predictions of this algorithm is significantly greater than 0.5 (pure chance for any binary decision), it can be said, that there is no free will.

I think to resolve the question of free will in humans is essential in understanding the purpose we are serving. This approach is relatively cost effective, as a small number of subjects would suffice to test the hypothesis. The costs would reside with the time to develop a proper algorithm as well as the hardware. Nevertheless there are ethical constraints to this approach, as the subjects would have to share a lot of very personal data. Furthermore if the hypothesis was tested to be true I assume there would be tremendous effects on society.

I would love to hear your opinion on this topic. Maybe someone can point out similar experiments or approaches I missed so far in my research.

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Apr 30 2013: Twin studies have always been useful to scientific research for understanding nature and nature. Let's consider the "Jim Twin."

    "Jim Lewis and Jim Springer first met February 9, 1979, after 39 years of being separated. Both were very nervous at first, but now consider the reunion "the most important day of my life." Amid the euphoria over their rediscovery of each other, they came across astonishing similarities in their lives and behavior. Both had been adopted by separate families in Ohio, and had grown up within 45 miles of each other. Both had been named James by their adoptive parents, both had married twice; first to women named Linda and second to women named Betty. Both had children, including sons named James Allan. Both had at one time owned dogs named Toy."
    • thumb
      Apr 30 2013: What you describe is not as miraculous as one might think. You consider only the event for 'Jim Twins' but do not consider all the cases of not-'Jim Twins'. The later number and probability is way higher, which in turn makes the first event more probable for each case of not-'Jim Twins' observed - or better said not observed because those cases simply are 'normal'. Pure statistics.
      • thumb
        May 1 2013: Did you ever read, "The Foundation" by Isaac Asimov? In it he introduces the idea of "psychohistory."

        Psychohistory depends on the idea that, while one cannot foresee the actions of a particular individual, the laws of statistics as applied to large groups of people could predict the general flow of future events. Asimov used the analogy of a gas: an observer has great difficulty in predicting the motion of a single molecule in a gas, but can predict the mass action of the gas to a high level of accuracy. (Physicists know this as the Kinetic theory.) Asimov applied this concept to the population of his fictional Galactic Empire, which numbered a quintillion. The character responsible for the science's creation, Hari Seldon, established two axioms:
        that the population whose behaviour was modeled should be sufficiently large
        that the population should remain in ignorance of the results of the application of psychohistorical analyses
        There is a third underlying axiom of Psychohistory, which is trivial and thus not stated by Seldon in his Plan:
        that Human Beings are the only sentient intelligence in the Galaxy.
        • thumb
          May 1 2013: I am not sure where you are heading with your post. Can you try and clarify, please?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.